The question posed above is probably
the one i've seen most often on b3ta and so, in another moment of
helpfulness, i have decided to address it.
What software should i use?
There's a massive range of software available to animate
in however most users stick to one of these products (prices accurate
as of 29/02/04).
Photoshop/imageready CS: £528.99
The undisputed champions of the image editing world,
Adobe's products will not be bettered but are expensive and new
users usually find them rather confusing. Imageready's optimisation
engine is the best available. Tutorial here.
Macromedia Fireworks MX 2004: £269.99
In my opinion this software has the perfect balance
between usability and power, it isn't as good for experienced users
as imagready but it's half the price. One minor downside is the
lack of layer linking. Tutorial here.
Paintshop pro 8/animation shop 3: £74.95
Paintshop pro is rapidly becoming a genuine player
in terms of image editing; it's animation tool is rather basic but
can produce good results. Its chief selling points are it's price
and a fairly active users community, which make it ideal for new
users. Tutorial here.
Ulead Gif Animator 5: $49.99
The only completely dedicated animator on my list:
Uleads offering ranks somewhere between animation shop and fireworks.
Its optimisation engine is better than animation shop but falls
somewhat shy of the professional products. Animating in this product
seems to me to be pretty much self explanatory.
The GIMP: Free
Don't let the fact that the GIMP is free fool you.
It is in fact one of the most powerful image editing tools around.
However, it is not without its idiosyncracies and it rewards a fair
amount of perseverence to get the most out of it. A major update
to the product comes out in the coming months which includes a new,
more user-friendly interface. Tutorial here.
A utlility for converting video files
to gifs, more about this later.